The Water Mama says god makes
I can smell the dirt the plows turned all day, blowing in from the fields my daddy and my older brother Larry worked in. I sometimes think I can smell Daddy and Brother when they are so far out, close to the distant treelines while they work, heading for the sunset. Sometimes they look so weary when they finally get to rest for the day. I'm glad I'm just a little girl sometimes, but I wish I could help them so they wouldn't have to work so late. Daddy said one day I could go to work too.
Late in the evenings like this one, I love to smell fresh plowed dirt mixing with the night's dew. The sounds of the bugs making all the racket that sometimes makes the old dog out back howl all night, which makes Daddy howl back at the dog, telling the dog to be quiet. I know that dog don't know what Daddy says, but he knows that Daddy wants him to quit howling cause he stops and goes straight to sleep. He's a smart dog.
When it rains and the cotton fields fill up with water, I sometimes climb out my window late at night. I have to wait until Larry goes to sleep, because sometimes he lets slip things to Mama. He don't mean no bad, but it seems like it happens a lot when we are about to make the family trip into town, that's when Mama makes Daddy buy her good children some hard candy. It just seems odd that's when Larry's lip gets real loose, but I love my brother, even though he sometimes uses his slingshot Daddy made to run me off when he wants to be alone. I want me a slingshot.
Mississippi Bayous - Joshua Mixon
The fields become a lake when the rain water gathers in them, and that's when I sneak out, only when the moon is shining down from heaven though. I walk out, up past my knees, and it's as if I'm in the middle of a great lake, and God can see me out there in the water Mama says God makes. Mama said God made everything, and that makes me wonder why I have to sneak out at night to walk out in God's water. It might be cause Mama sometimes has to make that stinky stuff she pours down our throats when we get the sniffles or a sore throat. That's why I wait for Larry to go to sleep. Mama mustn't ever know.
One night when I was out in my lake, out in the cotton fields, I had looked up at the moon for a long time. I could see the mountains that Daddy said was there and the face that Daddy traced out with his fingers one night. I never saw that face until Daddy showed it to me, not even a little bit. Daddy is smart, Mama said. God made Daddy too. Daddy said that little girls come from the stork birds. The stork birds drop little girls from heaven and whoever is waiting to catch them gets to be their daddy. Daddy said he waited a whole lot of years every day, waiting for just the right little girl. I guess Daddy got tired a lot then, too.
Brother, I am now convinced, in fact, came from an egg, Daddy often calls him an egghead, and Larry called Daddy a name once, thinking Daddy didn't hear him, but Daddy had only walked around, and he heard Larry alright! I could hear Larry all the way up at the house when Daddy took him to the barn to have a talk with him about using bad words.
Larry don't mean any bad, he just has a loose lip sometimes. Sometimes I watch Larry working far out in the fields, and that's when I miss him the most.
A Mississippi native, Raymond Darrel Ford's heart traveled to and fro between Mississippi and Lasalle Parish, Louisiana, stretching his roots across both states. Now, his heart seems to be settling down getting stuck in the delta mud of Sunflower County, Mississippi. Raymond knows that "God did make everything," including you, and that Jesus and mama will always love you. This is Raymond Darrel Ford’s first published work for the world’s viewing eyes.
Joshua Mixon is forty-eight years old, a Leo, and he finds peace doing artwork and spending time with his wife and Lil One. Joshua finds his serenity place in family, animals, artwork, and mentoring inmates. He is currently serving a life sentence at Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parch man, Mississippi. He has done twenty-five years so far.